Archive for January, 2010

Timestamping and Tracking SharePoint Documents

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

A numberof our customers want to track what happens to their SharePoint documents when they are downloaded or opened. This is usually because the SharePoint documentscontain some sensitive information and they want to make sure their users are handling this information correctly. If documents are being distributed to people who shouldn't have them, or are being printed and distributed inadvertently, organizationswould like to know the source of the document. We can support some timestamping and tracking in our current release of Document Marking for SharePoint, and we will do even more in our new release which is scheduled for lateFebruary 2010.

Timestamping can track when the document was added to SharePoint, when it was last modified, or when it was opened / downloaded from SharePoint. In the current release of our product we support the first two, when it wasadded and when it was modified. The next release will also support when it was opened / downloaded. In the example below we have timestamped when the document was added or last changed inSharePoint. The timestamp has been applied to the top left header area of the document.

Another way of tracking documents is by inserting the author, or the name of the user that has downloaded / viewed the document into the document header / footer / or watermark. Currently we support adding the author, or Modified By name into the document. In the next release we will support adding the current user's name into the document. In the example below we have watermarked the name of the user that last modified the document. In this case it was the administrator as I was signed in as the administrator.

These documents can also be converted to PDF formatin the SharePoint library and users can be limited to viewing of the PDF version instead of the original Word version.In this case, the original Word document would not be modified and only the PDF would be marked with the header and watermark. Thiswill be supported in our next release with the addition of our PDF Control product.

If you have any other requirements for timestamping or tracking documents in SharePoint, let us know. We would be happy to consider them for future releases of our products.

Balancing Information Security and Information Sharing

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

We do a lot of work in the US Federal government, and we find that one of the biggest challenges facing the government is their ability to balance information security and information sharing. The recent attempt to blow up a jet over Detroit has once again highlighted issues of the intelligence agencies not sharing sensitive information with other federal government agencies.

We’ve just published a new white paper on how information classification and marking solutions can help government agencies with the challenge of information sharing. The white paper is called “Secure Information Sharing: Balancing the Need to Share With the Need to Protect”.

Information sharing is a critical requirement for achieving government transparency and protecting national security. But there needs to be a balance between information sharing and information protection – especially with sensitive information related to privacy, security, and law enforcement.

To enable effective and secure information sharing, government agencies first need to identify the sensitivity of the information they handle. However, without a tool to help users identify and mark information, markings are often absent, incorrect, or inconsistent. This hinders information sharing and increases the risk of inadvertent disclosure. This is especially important in environments like SharePoint which are usually put in place to facilitate information sharing.

Fortunately, information marking solutions enable users to apply uniform, consistent, and comprehensive markings to emails and documents – with minimal training and impact to regular business processes. Properly marked information helps ensure that the right information reaches the right people, and reduces the tendency to over-protect information. This ultimately improves government transparency and national security.